top of page

Up to Date with YA Fiction

Book Reviews by Polly McCauley 

When you’re looking for a new book, no matter your age, you can be sure to find the perfect read within the Young Adult genre. Although named YA, this category of books is suited to all ages, from teenagers to the elderly and with so many genres included within this broad and diverse range of books, I’m sure that you will always find something to pique your interest and make you want to

continue reading.


Throughout 2021, Australians, authors included, have been hit with a few more challenges and

obstacles than we had anticipated, many of these bridges that we thought we had already crossed in 2020. However, with many states being back in lockdown, authors, new and old, have been thrown back into the world of virtual book launches and zoom meetings. Consequently, readers, and bookstagrammers alike, have had even more opportunities to settle in with a good book and a cup of

tea and explore all of the new Australian YA releases.


There have been so many wonderful YA books written by Australian authors throughout this pandemic but I’m here to highlight some of the best from 2021!

The Deep End

Author: Jenna Guillaume.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan.

Release Date: 31 August 2021.

The Deep End by Jenna Guillaume was published as part of the Australia Reads campaign, encouraging readers, young and old, to read together during Australian Reading Hour and celebrate all the wonders and joys of reading.

This small book packs a mighty punch, dealing with a few major topics with grace, such as mental health, body positivity and learning to overcome your fears in a safe and healthy environment. Guillaume is known for concocting a wonderful romance and within this tiny read, she produced yet another cute romance with authenticity and ease. From the outset, we are drawn into the environment

of a school swimming carnival - lots of fun for some, daunting for others - providing a link to growing up that resounds within many teenagers and adults. Rosie, a plus-size character, faces a few obstacles throughout the story, allowing us, as readers, to become more connected, as we laugh, cry, sympathise, support and ‘awww’ alongside her.


“I decide that, actually, it’s not so bad. They know I can do this. And I do too. I stand on the edge of the deep end. I take a breath. The gun goes off. I dive in. And I swim.”

This book was the most wonderful, one sitting read, filled with a great message and the perfect confidence booster for readers, with a little bit of YA romance thrown in the mix to make it even better. If you love reading this book, I highly suggest diving into the deep end and getting your hands on Jenna’s other titles, You Were Made for Me and What I Like About Me.


When We Are Invisible

Author: Claire Zorn.

Publisher: UQP.

Release Date: 30 March 2021.

When We Are Invisible is the sequel to Claire Zorn’s debut novel, The Sky So Heavy and was the most highly sought after piece of bookmail to arrive in our house this year.


It is a fast paced, engaging, apocalyptic read, following the journey of Lucy in the aftermath of the conflicts faced in The Sky So Heavy. We face these challenges with Lucy as she encounters and overcomes them. Through her writing, Zorn provides yet another warning, as the book moves from teaching its young adult audience about the need for peace and cooperation in the wider world to examining issues closer to the individual. We are confronted with a diverse range of characters from controlling men, to strong young women, fighting for what is right and confronting those who are abusing their power. In doing so, the author conveys a timely and powerful message about respectful relationships. Consequently, we find ourselves in a world where speculative fiction and reality have been blended to drive home the importance of acting now, for prevention in the future. Through complex and flawed characters, we learn and further understand the human condition and the way people behave when they are placed in extreme circumstances with which they are unfamiliar.


With many important lessons and lots of suspense, this is an exciting sequel which fans of the original and new readers alike will love.

Sunburnt Veils

Author: Sara Haghdoosti.

Publisher: Wakefield Press.

Release Date: 25 March 2021.

Sometimes it takes a community to make a difference. Other times, all it takes is a strong, young woman, who wants to make sure the world is a place where anyone, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation, can live freely and be themselves without a fear of anything. This notion is encompassed fully in Sara Haghdoosti’s new novel, Sunburnt Veils. Providing a glimpse into the life of

a young woman, starting university in Sydney, wearing hijab and trying to live freely. Haghdoosti’s writing really opened my eyes to the daily struggles that many white Australians force upon people who they see as different. This book is one that highlights the importance of fighting for change and acceptance in such a multicultural country, like Australia.


I absolutely loved this book! Written with humour, sarcasm and lots of truth, this book is definitely a must-read! I would recommend for lovers of Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah.

Must Read for 2021


Anything But Fine

Tobias Madden

Penguin Books

31 August 2021

cant say it went to plan .jpeg

Can’t Say It Went To Plan

Gabrielle Tozer

Harper Collins Australia

5 May 2021

monster of her age .jpeg

The Monster of Her Age

Danielle Binks

Hachette Australia

28 July 2021

Social Queue by Kay Kerr.jpeg

Social Queue

Kay Kerr

Text Publishing

28 September 2021

Green Rising by Lauren James.jpeg

Green Rising

Lauren James

Walker Books Australia

6 October 2021

You'll-Be-The-Death-Of-Me-by-Karen M. McManus.jpeg

You’ll Be The Death Of Me

Karen M McManus

Penguin Books

30 November 2021

bottom of page